Public Key vs. Private Key: What’s the difference?

Should you be giving out your Public Key or Private Key?

In simple terms, a cryptocurrency wallet is digital wallet which allows you to send and receive  cryptocurrency just like a regular bank account.

Public Key

The public key is the super long alphanumeric code or QR code which you give to another person in order to receive cryptocurrency to your wallet.

This address allows you to receive cryptocurrency without the other person being able to access the contents of the wallet.

The public key is also referred to as the receive address.

Unlike to private key, it is perfectly safe to provide your public key on a website or another 3rd party.

Private key vs public key

Private Key

The private key is the passphrase (11 word combination provided) when setting up the wallet.

Unlike the public key, you should NEVER give the private key to anyone.

It is similar to an account username with integrated password.

The private key is can also be described as the senders access code.

Which means that anyone with this private key can access the account and transfer the funds in that account.

This is the reason why hackers use all sorts of devious methods to get a hold of private keys hosted on websites and platforms.

Once a hacker has access to your private keys, they will be able to access your cryptocurrency and transfer its contents to another wallet.

As it is anonymous you won’t be able to track the hacker 🙁

Private key vs Public Key

Tips from the Pros:

  1. Always have a paper and pen ready when creating a new wallet so you can easily note the passphrase (public keys) as well as any additional passwords.
  2. If you are using a mobile wallet, take a screen shot of each page as you are creating the wallets so you can restore the wallet if you accidentally delete the app.
  3. Keep your private key and public key in separate places.
  4. Make several back ups (paper wallets).
  5. NEVER EVER give your private key to anyone.
  6. Avoid showing your private key in public areas or places with  cameras.
  7. Make several wallets for different uses.

For example, you can have one accessible wallet for everyday transactions, a different one for savings

To Conclude:

Remember that a “ cryptocurrency wallet” is above all a software which stores your private and public key.

Unlike your bank account you are solely responsible for the contents as well as its security.

Depending on from which perspective you’re looking at it, this could be a bad thing or a good thing.  😉

Founder of Satoshi Library

Owner of SatoshiLibrary


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